Vance Gilbert

Meghan Cary

Arlon Bennet / Carla Ulbrich

MAY 17
The Levins / Open Book

Unless otherwise noted
Acoustic Cafe
concerts are presented in the
Lower Gathering Space of
Our Lady of Mercy Church at
2 Fremont Road,
Park Ridge, NJ.

Entrance to Gathering Space is from the rear parking lot.

Get Directions

The Acoustic Cafe
is a live music venue
presenting local,
independent and nationally touring performers.
It is a non-profit organization
and 100% volunteer operated. Seating is first come, first served.

Refreshments are available.


"Pascack Valley's
Premier Concert Venue"



4PM Sunday, February 16, 2020

Vance Gilbert (Doors at 3:30PM )

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when buzz started spreading in the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking 'em dead at open mics. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Vance started out hoping to be a jazz singer, and then discovered his affinity for the storytelling sensibilities of acoustic folk music. Once word got out about Gilbert's stage-owning singing and playing, Shawn Colvin invited him to be special guest on her Fat City Tour. Noted not only for being the ever consummate performer, Gilbert has recorded 12 albums, including 4 for Philo/Rounder Records and a duo album with friend Ellis Paul. Along with being opener of choice for artists as varied as Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie, and Anita Baker, 2006 and 2007 found Gilbert opening 140+ shows for comedian George Carlin. Most recently he’s the opener of choice for Paul Reiser and The Subdudes.

Considered by many to be an integral part of the national folk scene, Gilbert's approach to the acoustic singer songwriter idiom is significant. Gilbert's compositions, while frequently employing sophisticated melodies and harmonies that attest to his jazz roots, remain sublime attestations to the storyteller's craft. He even has a tune on a Grammy Nominated children’s album. How rounded is that?

$18 online / $21 at door

opening for Vance

Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Sophie Buskin is a 2019 Nerfa Formal Showcase artist and a 2019 Kerrville New Folk Finalist. Her first solo release, Sweet Creature, has garnered airplay on folk radio and is a testament to her ongoing journey of artistic self discovery.

Oh, my God... she is amazing! This CD should be everywhere!”
- Judy Collins

4PM Sunday March 15, 2020
Meghan Cary (and an artist TBA)

$15 online / $20 at door

(Doors at 3:30PM )

Meghan Cary


Meghan Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. But when her fiancé unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice for Best Newcomer. “I wrote my grief into music and sang my way out of the abyss.” Cary continues to share the healing power of music with the community that has rallied around her message of hope and being heard. Known for her raw honesty and ability to connect with and engage her audience, Cary brings people to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and lyrics that resonate universally. Cary’s song “Sing Louder”, a call to raise our voices together to make a difference, has become an anthem for the music-loving community. Cary’s smoky voice, emotional singing, and vulnerable writing garner favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge, Shawn Colvin, and even Bruce Springsteen.
“Meghan Cary, with indefatigable energy, molds every song with sophisticated melodies and intriguing lyrics.”
- Richard Cuccaro, Acoustic Live NYC




4PM Sunday April 19, 2020
Arlon Bennett / Carla Ulbrich

$15 online / $20 at door
(Doors at 3:30PM )

Arlon Bennett
and The Healing Project

Arlon Bennett is an award winning songwriter and a three-time finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Competition. His song “Be the Change” from his Summer’s Voice CD, garnered top national airplay on folk radio. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease Arlon has been performing as The Healing Project, with John Sonntag on guitar, Gordon Roehrer on bass and RT Miller on percussion. Arlon’s goal is to keep making positive music that helps heal others from their own challenges and to help raise awareness. His latest CD, World of Possibility is a testament to that end, with the hope of inspiring others. www.arlonbennett.com

"Arlon's songs ring true, whether he's writing about the personal or the political. The result is inspiring." - John Platt, WFUV New York -


Carla Ulbrich

Carla Ulbrich is a comical singer-songwriter and guitarist with a rapier wit and a keen observational eye for the absurdities of everyday living. With a love of wordplay and some pretty fancy guitar chops, she creates songs on topics as diverse as wedgies, Waffle House, Klingons, and how rich she would be if she had the copyright on the 'F' Word. Carla is a longtime favorite on the Dr. Demento show and has released 6 CDs that have been played on the BBC, Sirius XM Radio and NPR. Carla has been performing since the late 90s, playing in venues from a Clothing Optional Folk Festival to the Falcon Ridge and Kerrville Folk festivals.

"I LOVE Carla's songwriting- smart, funny, and insightful.”
- singer/songwriter Christine Lavin -


4PM Sunday May 17, 2020
The Levins and Open Book

$15 online / $20 at door
(Doors at 3:30PM )

The Levins

The contemporary harmony-driven folk duo, The Levins, offers lyrically-rich acoustic music that is warm and uplifting without skating over life's complexities. From harmony in voice to harmony for humanity, husband and wife duo, Julia and Ira, uplift and unite with unflinchingly feel-good folk-pop, infectious musicality, sharp songwriting skills, and a unique approach to vocal harmonies that is both soulful and unexpected. 
The Levins have garnered prime accolades and acclaim for boldly uncompromising and heartfelt music. Select highlights include ranking on Folk and Roots DJ charts, nabbing Top 10 positions and landing on multiple DJ yearly Top 10 song and album lists. Their songs bridge genres and communities, offering them opportunities to perform at The Parliament of World Religions and co-produce an original full-scale musical theater/Euro-Circus production in San Francisco, based on their album, "My Friend Hafiz,: which is inspired by Daniel Ladinsky's poetic renditions.

They are currently touring with their new CD, Caravan Of Dawn, which orbits around a transformative message of healing, exploring the "sorrow inside joy and joy inside sorrow."

"The open hearted songs of The Levins feed my soul. What the world needs now more than ever is the poetry, spirituality, and humanity of their uplifting musicality." - John Platt, WFUV radio
“With Caravan of Dawn, The Levins emulate a timeless sound that’s chock full of seamless harmonies, simple, supple melodies and the kind of unassuming but reassuring melodies that might have sprung from the seminal sounds of the Laurel Canyon scene during its heyday in the late ‘60s. - Lee Zimmerman, Indie Spotlight, Goldmine

Open Book

Rick and Michele Gedney, known as the duo, Open Book, have been writing, recording, and performing together since 2000. Their original music features melody invention and vocal harmonies backed by a tapestry of interweaving guitars. They have released three albums which have received national airplay and critical acclaim. They are currently in the studio working on their fourth album.

In addition to touring and recording, Michele and Rick are honored to work as teachers/music facilitators at Dar Williams’ ‘Writing a Song That Matters’ retreat, which just completed its seventh season at
The Garrison Institute in New York’s Hudson Valley. Open Book has shared the stage and recorded with many notable musicians including Buddy and Julie Miller, Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, Freedy Johnson, John Sebastian, Livingston Taylor, Martin Sexton, Sloan Wainwright, and many others.

“Open Book exemplifies the low-key power of haunting melody buttressed with expansive harmony, the satisfaction of adroit wordplay entwined with skillfully understated musicianship.”
- Robert Burke Warren, Chronogram Magazine

“Open Book's songs build on Rick and Michele's beautiful and entwining harmonies, achieving an incantatory power."
- Jim Motavalli, WPKN Radio

c o n t a c t          acousticcafe@optimum.net        201-573-0718


The Haiti Connection

Our Lady of Mercy Parish has a “twinning” relationship with St. Vincent’s Parish in Vallieres, Haiti and has established a scholarship program which helps eligible children in Vallieres to achieve the equivalent of a high school education.

Proceeds from our concerts benefit this schoalrship fund as well as humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti in general.